5 Tips for Reducing MRI Claustrophobia

5 Tips for Reducing MRI Claustrophobia

If your doctor has prescribed an MRI test for you, but you have fears of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), thinking about your MRI appointment can produce anxiety. Our board-certified radiologists with REDI Diagnostics Corp in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, want you to feel comfortable during your MRI

Here’s some information we hope will help.

How does an MRI work and what happens during the test?

MRI is an abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging. The MRI machine is completely safe and emits no radiation. It creates numerous images of the inside of your body that no other machine can replicate. 

The images are cross-sectional, so they’re slices: think of cutting into a cake or pie and your view of that slice. Radiofrequency waves produce the images and send them to our computer. 

During your procedure, you lie on a table which we slide into a round scanner. The space is well ventilated and lit. Both ends are open. Some MRIs don’t require you to have your head inside the scanner — for example, if you’re having an MRI of your knee. 

MRIs vary in the length of time they take. Our radiologists explain exactly how long your MRI is going to take; your doctor can give you an estimate before your MRI appointment as well. 

It’s important to focus on why you’re having the MRI and what information it’s going to yield. Your doctor gets answers from the test that help form a diagnosis and treatment plan for you. Whether it’s pelvic or abdominal pain, a heart problem, joint issues, the possibility of cancer, a tumor, or a spinal cord or brain injury, the MRI machine provides critical information. 

Following are five tips to help reduce your claustrophobic feelings. 

Learn about the MRI process

We often fear things we don’t understand. Once having an MRI is demystified, your fear will likely dissipate considerably. Your radiologist answers all of your questions about the process. 

Bring a support person to your appointment 

Make your MRI appointment into an outing. Your family member or friend waits for you outside the room where you’re having the procedure. Knowing someone is there for you provides comfort. Afterwards, go out to lunch or dinner as a reward to yourself. 

Consider earplugs and music 

Yes, there are loud noises at various intervals. We can provide you with earplugs to help lessen the sounds. Did you know that you can also listen to music during your MRI? Listening to your favorite jams via earphones can distract you from the procedure. 

Cover your face and close your eyes

If you have a sleep mask, bring it to your MRI. Alternatively, we can give you a towel to place over your eyes. Close your eyes so you don’t see yourself in an enclosed space. We communicate with you during the procedure to let you know how much longer it will be.

Sedation is an option 

If no other strategies work and your anxiety is extreme, you can ask your doctor to prescribe an anti-anxiety pill to take the night before and one hour prior to your procedure. That way, you’re sleepy and relaxed. 

Call our office or book an appointment online with REDI Diagnostics Corp today for your MRI. The sooner you have your test, the sooner you’ll have critical information needed for your treatment. 

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